'Confidential' memos allege cover-up in health exchange errors

LAS VEGAS -- Confidential documents which appear to be from a Nevada Health Link employee may reveal huge problems within the state health exchange.

What could be internal memos seem to show the former health exchange CEO knew early on there were problems with premium pricing and  tried to hide them from the public. Now, one local law firm is planning a class action lawsuit against Nevada Health Link and Xerox, the company in charge of running the website.

The documents were mailed to 8 News NOW and other news outlets around the Las Vegas valley. A note sent with the documents said state exchange leaders knew there were problems and tried to stop people from finding out about the problems. 

Tamar Burch, an insurance broker, sat through countless meetings with Silver State Health Exchange to fight for people who were having problems signing up for their insurance. One of those people was Lawrence Basich.

"He's out here by himself. He has no family, and so forth," Burch said. 

He paid for health insurance, but for some reason couldn't get confirmation of coverage. It was a problem he reported to exchange leaders over and over again. While he was battling that issue, he had a heart attack and was still technically uninsured.

"Frustrating for the consumers. Ridiculous," Burch said.

What may have happened to Basich and thousands of others could be explained by the document which alleges the health exchange and Xerox knew as early as November they were calculating tax credits and premiums  incorrectly.  As many as 10,000 people who paid for plans were affected. According to the documents, Nevada Health Link and Xerox officials made the decision to have those affected people start the process over without telling the people. 

The document also alleges, former Health Link CEO Jon Hager, "has decided we are not going to message this action out to the public." It also says Hager had a script planned for people trying to figure out what happened to their accounts. "What does the exchange want us to tell people who stumble upon this?"  Call center reps were supposed to only say, 'we found an error with your eligibility or your account.'

"I believe the public should have been told," attorney Matt Callister said.
 
Callister and his law firm also received the anonymous emails and are now filing a class action lawsuit against the exchange and Xerox.

"They knew they were not going to be able to provide a year or more ago and that's very troubling," Callister said.

He and his associates already have 100 potential clients and believe there could be thousands more who are uninsured.

Former Nevada Health Link CEO Jon Hager stepped down in March and couldn't be reached for comment.

C. J. Bawden, a spokesperson for Nevada Health Link, says the documents are part of an internal memo from Xerox and did not relate to any health link employees.  He added, no one was dropped from insurance plans to cover up errors. Bawden did say Nevada Health Link was aware of problems calculating tax credits during a two-week period in Oct. 2013. They opted to correct the problem, but did not notify the people affected until after the errors were corrected.

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